We do also give up our selves one unto another in the Lord, and according to the will of God, freely covenanting and binding our selves to walk together as a right ordered congregation and church of Christ, in all ways of His worship, according to the holy rules of the Word of God, promising in brotherly love, faithfully to watch over one another’s souls.
~ Boston Puritan church covenant renewal, 1636
As I was reading The Light and the Glory some months ago, I was inspired by the chapter on the Puritans and how they covenanted to live in the New World within their families and churches. Some of the traits that today’s culture laugh at as being ‘extreme’ are the very ones that fostered their vitality as a church body. They considered themselves watchmen over one another’s souls, a responsibility seldom given attention today. Maybe we feel like we’d be seen as judgmental if we interfered, maybe be just don’t have time to get involved, but the result is the same- a total lack of commitment to our brothers and sisters in Christ. I like how the authors of TLATG put it,
…is it not enough, some people ask, simply to be a family which is already centered in Christ, without being committed to some body of fellow Christians?
…it has been our experience that we often need the discernment and counsel of other Christians outside our immediate family, in order to truly live in Christ and for Christ, instead of in and for self.
That word, committed, keeps coming to my mind. I spend time thinking about what that means for me. I like to think I am a dedicated mother to my children, kind person to other people, etc. But every so often the Holy Spirit stops me in an unhealthy thought and asks, “what more should you be doing to demonstrate how committed you are to this person?” It should be evident in every single act, an inseparable part of the goal of mirroring God’s love.